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Questions About Working With A CDFA®

Q.    What is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®)?

A.    A CDFA® is an experienced financial professional who is trained to analyze the specific financial issues in divorce. They are members of the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA™), the premier national organization dedicated to the certification, education and promotion of the use of financial professionals and planning in the divorce arena. Many CDFA’s are also CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professionals.

Q.    I have an attorney. Why do I need a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®)?

A.    The financial ramifications of divorce can be devastating. Often missing from the divorce process is financial expertise. A CDFA® can forecast both the short-term and long-term effects of the settlement. By using a CDFA®, both spouses have a clearer view of their financial future. CDFA's help attorneys determine alimony needs of one spouse and the corresponding ability to pay by the other; help the client make financial sense of proposals; provide expert witness testimony in trials and mediation.

Q.    What exactly does a CDFA® do?

A.    They confidentially examine your personal property, retirement assets, investment accounts, current earnings, future earning capacity and current and future expenses. They consider alimony, tax implications, health care costs, cost basis of your investments, and the value of your business or partnership. They work with your attorney and/or mediator and analyze your equitable distribution proposals. Through the use of unique divorce software, they are able to illustrate to you, your spouse and your attorneys the short-term, and more importantly, the long-term financial effects of the settlement options. They illustrate all asset divisions and cash flow projections. With proper planning and expert help from a professional specializing in financially equitable divorce settlements, you can increase your chances of arriving at a settlement that fully addresses your long-term financial needs

Q.    At what point in the divorce process should we contact your divorce financial planning department in order to work with a CDFA®?

A.    Some of you may want to consult with a CDFA® before you contact an attorney, if you want to have an understanding of the financial aspects of your divorce before you start legal proceedings. Some of you may even feel that you cannot afford to get a divorce and meeting with a CDFA® can help you clarify financial concerns. In many cases, mediation (with or without attorneys) may be a smart alternative to litigation, and having a neutral financial perspective may help in determining which direction makes most sense for you.

Q.    I am currently working with an attorney. Is it too late to work with a CDFA®?

A.    Not at all. If you have a proposal on the table, a CDFA® can analyze the proposal through the use of unique divorce software; you and your attorney will then be able to determine whether or not the proposal is acceptable to you. If not, or if you don't have proposals calculated yet, our processes will, based on the information you and your attorney provide, create initial or alternative proposals. Our role is to assist your attorney and you; we consider ourselves a valuable component of your divorce team.

Q.    We want to mediate our divorce. Can we still use a CDFA®?

A.    Absolutely. We can either work with you and your spouse to illustrate the short-term and long-term effects of your equitable distribution proposals, or you can engage us to coach you and advocate for you throughout the process. Either way, we will illustrate your various proposals so you and your spouse can see the potential short-term and long-term ramifications, and not just guess at the outcome. 

Q.    How do I contact you?

A.    Call (480) 425-0154 or Click Here to set up an initial complimentary consultation. Or, you may also have your attorney contact us directly if they currently do not have a CDFA® that they are consulting with in your divorce proceedings.  

Q.    What happens next?

A.    You or your attorney communicates the particulars of your case and we show you examples of financial divorce plans. At the end of the complimentary consultation, you will probably have an idea of whether or not you want to work with us. If you do, you will complete our data form, income and expense sheet and retainer agreement (at home or in our office). We then determine your future financial needs, or a future “Lifestyle Analysis.” Next, we devise various equitable distribution financial proposals. We show them to you first for your input and approval. We then present them to your attorney for his/her input. You and your attorney decide how you want to present them to the other side.

Q.    Can I use your services after I receive my settlement?

A.    Absolutely. Post divorce, we “implement” the divorce decree, meaning we can assist you in setting up the receiving accounts in the case of IRA’s, 401k’s or other company retirement plans, or, assist in distributions from accounts. We also help in setting up the QDRO for pension plans to make sure your future benefits are secure. We assist in maximizing your social security benefits, change beneficiaries of insurances/investment accounts and assist in your estate planning needs (Wills and Trusts). Since we have modeled your financial future in the divorce process, we understand your exact financial needs and help you manage your cash flow to make sure you stay on track. We also are able to help you establish the remainder of your divorce team: CPA, Estate Attorneys, Insurance Agents, Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, etc…and finally, we can assist you in managing your assets to make sure your future is secure.

 

Michael P. Black

CFP®, CDFA®, AIF®

480-425-0154

[email protected]

CURRICULUM VITAE Michael Black began his career in the Public Accounting field specializing in tax planning for both individuals and businesses. He has since redirected his practice to focus on comprehensive financial planning. As a...

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